US figures agree on size of Soviets' Afghan forces

The US intelligence community has reached an agreed estimate of 70,000 Soviet troops inside Afghanistan and 30,000 more in nearby stations just across the Soviet border, the US Defense Department said Thursday. Earlier, the Pentagon's estimates of Soviet troop strength had often differed from those of the State Department, which tended to give higher figures.

Thomas B. Ross, a Defense Department spokesman, said there was no sign of reduction in Soviet strength. If the present total estimates of 100,000 was lower than some earlier ones, he added, it was because of a "refinement of the figures." Some Soviet divisions are split betwen units inside Afghanistan and others just across the frontier inside the USSR.

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